Home life project – August edition.

I’m finally back for HLP. I’ve missed the passed two months, but.. if your follow  me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know I was gifted a brand new camera last month (early birthday present.) and oh, wow.  It’s the best thing i’ve ever been given! I’ve spent the last few weeks playing around with it, practicing the different functions, trying to find the perfect balances on manual to produce beautiful pictures. So, with that in mind, I wanted this months HLP to be the best one I had done yet.

As of Last Tuesday, its official the Summer holidays. Also as of last Tuesday, we became Hen parents. So of course, we are loving being home right now, spending days out in the garden, watching them and there weird little ways, learning about them and finally we are being given eggs from our new feathered friends.

I thought this month, we’d go with Sunday. Actually, I did have plans for Saturday, but life got in the way, and I didn’t really have chance to pick up my camera until Sunday morning. Anyway, this is how our day went.

 

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Starting the day with tea & my hens.

 

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A quick Sunday food shop, means fresh flowers for me. (£1.30 for this beautiful M&S bouquet!!!)

 

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Back from Grannies & Mischa needs a nap.

 

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Out in the sunshine, digging for worms.

 

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Mishap with the swing ends with Mischa having a face full of mud!

 

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Post Sunday lunch dessert.

 

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Enjoying a post dinner laze.

 

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Play fighting never ends well.

 

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Burning of the last of that energy before bed.

 

 

So, that was our Sunday. A lovely relaxed day.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

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Home life project: May edition.

I actually almost forgot it was The home life project weekend, luckily the little nagging part of my brain, the one that reminds me to take Mischa’s PE kit to school on mondays, or that the milk is running low – reminded me the second I opened my eyes on Saturday morning.

On Saturday Sam had to head up to Ernshaw livery yard to get some footage of the horses for their website. So I had the option of hanging round the house with Mischa and Izzy until he had finished, or joining him. I was promised lots of lush green land for the girls to run around on and the perfect countryside back drop for my HLP photos – Of course I was in! What was only supposed to be a flying visit, resulted in us staying for around 3 hours, with so much to see, and Phil (the owner) only too willing to show us around, we spent the afternoon exploring and filling our lungs with crisp spring country air.

Once back from our adventures, I ignored the urge to order a takeaway, remembering my vow to eat a little healthier and so I got cracking on dinner, trying out one of the Davina – 5 weeks to sugar free recipes. I made up the Mushroom and butternut squash barley risotto. (I’ve managed to find a link of the recipe Here.) You MUST try it, it so delicious, not hard to make and the pearl barley is a fantastic – less stodgy alternative to rice. – I paired mine with a grilled chicken breast.

Once dinner was done and the girls had their daily fix of the power puff girls, it was bath and bed for them and a Saturday night catching up with The big bang theory and New girl for me.

 

 

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All in all a wonderfully relaxed Saturday.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

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*You can see the footage of the horses that Sam captured on his drone – Here.*

 

 

The home life project: April edition.

I missed last months Home life project and so this month I really wanted to work hard to get some good shots of our day. For April’s edition I decided to shoot our Saturday. We did have plans to go to a local farm (I was really looking forward to documenting that for the HLP), but its April and we live in the north-west of England, so obviously it rained all day long. Instead we decided on a relaxed morning at home followed by venturing out into our local town centre for a bit of shopping.

I planned on documenting our entire day, but for some reason (I suspect its something to do with age..) My camera is not dealing well with any low light situations at the minute. Over the course of the day I took around 200 photos, only eleven made the cut, all of which were before about 3pm, when the sky turned a dark shade of grey and nearly all natural light was gone.

 

Saturday 2nd April: Making the most of a rainy day. 

 

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It might not have been as much fun as going to snuggle newborn chicks for the day, but a trip into Lush – who were as fabulously accommodating with my girls, and their need to touch everything as they always are – followed by a stop off for cake at Patisserie Valerie wasn’t a bad way to spend the early afternoon at all.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*If you’d like more information on how to take part in the Home life project, pop over to the linky’s host Maybush studio. She has lots of helpful tips and tricks. Plus, rules if you want to take part and the archives for the months we’ve already done.*

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Home life project – February’s edition (2016)

Its that time of month again, time for the Home life project. This month I’ve chosen Sunday again. I took a ton of photo’s over the weekend, but so many just didn’t make the cut, Sunday was the only day I had time to really have a proper go. Its still cold and quite dark out (the joys of winter!) So rather than trying to get lots of light and airy photos, I thought I would embrace the dark tones. They aren’t the most exciting of photographs, it wasn’t the most exciting of days, but I thoroughly appreciate that The home life project isn’t about staged photographs, but a selection of shots from our normal family life.

Here are the ones that did make the cut:

 

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

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Home life project, January edition (2016)

A few days ago, I found my friend Clare over at Maybush studios has decided to start running a new linky – for non- blogging folk/ and bloggers like me that just don’t have a clue- This is a blog post link up, a subject is decided on by the host and at a chosen date bloggers can link up their posts, and everyone can go round seeing how others have interpritated this subject.

Clare’s is the Home life project. This is a photography based link up, on the first weekend of every month you can pick up your camera and spend the day taking photo’s of family life. This is the very first link up i’ve joined and the words ‘People who want to grow their photography’ was what got me so excited to join in. I am so far from a professional, but its something I really want to work on. Meaning, no matter if I think my photo’s are a bit rubbish, I’ll be able to document my progress as the months go on… I could do this without a link, but pushing myself into linking up my posts, knowing others ARE going to be looking… well that just makes me try a little bit harder to get some good shots.

Anyway i’ve rambled on enough now, so i’ll just get my photographs up.

Sunday 3rd January 2016 – A typically lazy sunday in our household.

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The last one isn’t particularly blog-esque… but it is completely honest. This is how I end most of my days! Right now we’re re-watching Luther.

Next month, I want to try & get some more of the girls, its such a struggle too keep them both in the same place, so LOTS of practice needed! This whole thing has been so much fun!

If you want a bit more information on the Link up, you can find it all on the Maybush Studio blog page  HERE

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

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Goodbye 2015.

 

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I know everyone says this, but I really can’t believe how quick 2015 has gone! So much has happened, some good, some bad. But through it all i’ve learnt a lot. And thats really what life is about isn’t it? I’ve had so much fun with the blog, this is my place. My space to just spread creativity. So I thought for my last post of the year I’d just show some of my favourite blogging moments of 2015.

  • My very first post. When I re-started TLWP as a blog, I honestly thought it would burn out in a couple of months – full of faith! ha- But its just been so addictive. I look back at my first post and I can sense the nerves in my writing, I was SO scared of hitting that publish button. The support I’ve had since is just insane. So thank you for coming here to read.

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  •  Support Small Saturdays. I’ve completely slacked at these, I WILL re-start in 2016, but I’m just so happy I had so many amazing small business that wanted to be involved! I love the interview parts and getting to share some truly inspirational ladies with readers is what its all about.

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  • North west bloggers event. This is when I felt like a blogger, sat in that room full of wonderful people, all in there for the same reason as myself. It was a lovely day and I left with the biggest boost in confidence as well as a bunch of fab ladies I still talk to now. The blogging world is a strange one, its so much easier when you have a group of people that just get it.

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  • The one where I painted my bathroom floor. – This was such a fun/cheap project to do, not only that but It also ended up with me being contacted by Wayfair! My post ended up being part of an bloggers bathroom inspo post! As you can imagine I was so excited to be featured on quite a massive brands website. You can find the Wayfair post here.

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  • World prematurity day – my story. This was a completely last minute post. I had written it, re-written it and gone back to delete it so many times. My blog isn’t really super personal, but I felt this was a story to be shared. I did not at all expect the response I got. Its still the post with the most views this year! It was lovely to know that readers, so used to to recipes, tutorials ect. Weren’t turned off by a little bit of my real life.

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And as far as blogging goes in 2016, I’ve planned a couple of posts, but really, my plan is to just work freely, writing up posts as and when inspiration strikes. One of my main goals though is to step up my photography game, I’m lucky enough to have been gifted a half decent camera, I’m better than I was last year, but I’ve still a long way to go and as a blog that really is very visual, its so important for me to try a little harder to get those crisp, bright, clear photographs.

Goodbye 2015, hello 2016.

Happy New year readers!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Our Gingerbread house.

I wasn’t really planning on doing a post about this, but then I realised, there are SO many gingerbread house kits on the market, this time of year. It may actually be helpful if you want to do one but aren’t sure on where to buy from.

I read an article a few weeks ago, one of the national newspapers I think. Giving the run down on gingerbread house kits, where to buy, where not to buy. Anyway, the Lidl one received the best ratings and priced at only £4.49 it would hardly break the bank to have a go.

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As I said earlier I wasn’t actually planning on doing this post, so I have no photographs at all of the process, but its all pretty simple. In the box you’ll have 8 gingerbread pieces, 4 packets of sweets for decorating and 3 christmas icing figures (santa, a snowman and a christmas tree).

The only disappointment would be that you don’t get anything to make icing with, nothing at all (It does state it on the box, I just didn’t read it). Luckily, avid baker that I am I always have packets of icing sugar in. On the inside of the box is steps to follow, including the measurements needed to make up the perfect icing. 300g of icing sugar mixed with one egg white (All in all I made up two lots of this icing) This really does make the best icing to build up your house with. Other things to think about buying extra is sweets. I bought a bag of giant white buttons for the roof, mini marshmallows for the smoking chimney and candy canes… just because… its a gingerbread house.

The actual building of the house is simple. Follow the steps on the inside of the box, securing the gingerbread with cocktail sticks. The icing only takes about ten minutes to dry, giving you time to set up the sweets.

Izzy was supposed to be a part of the gingerbread house decorating,  I told her she couldn’t eat all the sweets, cue tantrum, followed by her falling asleep. So Mischa and I did it all on our own. Its certainly fiddly, trying to get all those little sweets stuck down, and I think if I did it again, i’d ice the decorations on the front of the house, prior to sticking it all together, its not the easiest position to draw. But overall its a lovely kit, simple instructions an something fab to do with the kids during the christmas period. Now I know just how easy it is, I’m planning on making something much more elaborate next year.

 

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Hosting Christmas day.

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When we lived out of the country, our Christmas’s were quiet, too quite. I yearned for a full house, tables of food, family all around. I’m a hostess, any major holiday and I’m on it, I live for these things. So this christmas, just like the last two, we’re hosting christmas dinner at our house. Its a bit smaller this year only having 6 adults and two children. But like always I will go completely over the top. Its not christmas without enough food to feed a small army is it?!

So every year, around about two weeks before Christmas I get out my notepad and jot down the menu for the day, then I write down my christmas food shopping list, aswell as timing for food to be prepared and cooked on the day. It makes it so much easier when I know what I need to be doing and when, it also means I can spend as much time enjoying the festivities with everyone else.

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I thought I’d share my menu and prep list so if your hosting christmas this year, maybe for the first time and have no idea how you’ll organise everything, it might make it just that little bit easier.

So first up, here’s my menu.

 

Christmas dinner:

Roast turkey

Roast potatoes

yorkshire puddings,

sausage meat stuffing

roasted carrots & parsnips

steamed broccoli

brussel sprouts

Turkey gravy

 

Dessert table:

Millionaires shortcake

Rocky road christmas pudding

real christmas pudding with clotted cream

boston cream cupcakes.

I’m a dessert lover (just incase you didn’t get that from the list above) and every year I like to fill the table with an array of desserts once dinner has been cleared up. I always end up with loads left over, but then i’ll do my rounds to the neighbours, passing over left over treats. Also I know there are NO fruit based desserts on this menu, again I’ve learnt from years passed, they barely get touched, we’re a family of chocolate lovers.

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Now i’ve decided on my menu, its time to plan and write down my list of timings for both the prep and the cooking. I’ve learnt  that if I dont plan correctly or over pack my menu I will be in the kitchen for days before (Christmas 2013 I was in the kitchen for 2 days prior and pretty much all of christmas day)

So starting with the earliest. Things that can be prepared well in advanced.

The morning of Christmas eve:

  • Make the Rocky road christmas pudding and leave in the fridge to set (I’ll have a recipe for this up on the blog on Weds)
  • Make the shortbread & caramel part of the millionaires shortbread. (leave on the side, covered)
  • Make the cupcakes & creme pattiseier for the boston cream cupcakes (leave the cupcakes to cool, cover the crem pat & chill in the fridge)

I always make sure i’m completely free from at least 4-7pm on Christmas eve, this is our family time, Once the kids are tucked up in bed I’ll finish food prep before setting up the living room for christmas day morning.

Christmas eve evening:

  • Add the chocolate topping to the millionaires shortbread. (cover and set aside)
  • Peel the potatoes (pop them in a water filled bowl or tupperware dish and leave in the fridge until needed)
  • prepare the sausage meat stuffing. (Set in a loaf tin, cover with foil and pop in the fridge)
  • Prepare the turkey. (again cover with foil and put it into the fridge)

Christmas Day:

9am – Put the turkey in the oven.

12pm – Prep the carrots and parsnips (place in a baking tray & set aside), prep the broccoli and put in a pan, same with the brussel sprouts.

1pm – Make up the yorkshire pudding batter (leave in the fridge until needed)

1:15 – combine the cupcakes  & creme pat (set aside for choclate topping later)

1:30 – part boil the potatoes.

1:50 – put the potatoes in the oven to roast.

2pm – Put the carrots & parnips in to roast

2:15 – Put the stuffing in the oven.

2:20 – Put the oiled yorkshire pudding tray in the oven.

2:30 – Pop the yorkshire puddings mixture in the tray and back in the oven.

2:35 – Brussel sprouts on to boil

2:45 – Broccoli on, Take out the turkey ( set on the serving platter, cover with foil)

2:50 – Gravy!

3pm – DINNER TIME! ( The Turkey, stuffing, gravy & yorkshire puddings are set on the table, everything else is pre plated up, my table isnt big enough for a serve yourself style dinner)

4pm- After dinner is finished and the table cleared, prepare the dessert table. Cover the rocky road christmas pudding with melted white chocoate & top the boston cream cupcakes with melted milk chocolate. Invite everyone in for the traditional lighting of the normal christmas pudding before helping themselves to everything else.

4:30pm – Grab three bottles of wine & lock myself in the bathroom for the rest of the evening. Ha. Just kidding, but with everyone fed, I’ll sit, I’ll drink, I’ll congratulate myself on another successfull Christmas dinner and enjoy the festivities with everyone else.

*Quick note, I have a double oven, this makes it so much easier to have everything in. If you’ve got a single oven, you’ll have to do some juggling.*

Hosting Christmas dinner is not for the faint hearted. Of course you can cut out a ton of those steps by buying pre-made desserts & frozen potatoes, yorkshire puddings ect. But Its christmas, its only one day of the year and if your like me this beautiful day of food, family and festivities only deserves the best.

So deep breaths, get your lists made up and remember YOU CAN DO THIS!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

The worlds BEST hot chocolate.

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I’m going to confess something rather shocking… I dont like Hot chocolate. *Gasp* I just dont, I dont like chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake or chocolate milkshake either, give me an actual bar of chocolate though and i’m happy as larry. Wierd eh. You’re probably wondering why as someone that doesnt like hot chocolate am I posting a recipe for it? Well, its a regular demand in my household on any cold winters night and I have it on very good authority that this hot chocolate is the absolute best my three taste testers have ever had. This isn’t an instant, just add water hot chocolate. It does take a little effort, but for a special occasion, say Christmas eve.. this is the one to make!

So here’s what you’ll need:

– 30g butter
– 20g cornflour
– 450ml  whole fat milk, plus a little extra (Blue top)
– 50g sugar
– 90g milk chocolate chips
– 90g  dark chocolate chips
– Whipped cream *Optional*
– Mini marshmallows *Optional*
These quantities make 2-4 servings, depending on mug size. Feel free to double up, its worse to run out than it is to have too much & any left overs can be kept in the fridge for a few days and reheated (once only).

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And here’s what you’ll need to do:

First you need to melt the butter in a saucepan, once melted whisk in the cornflour to make a clumpy paste – I know that sounds revolting, but bare with me!

Next, pop your sugar in with your milk, give it a little stir before very slowly pouring a little into your saucepan at a time.  This is really important, little in & stir, little more then stir. Continue until you’ve used all your milk/sugar & your milky mixture is lump free.

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When the mixture starts to thicken, take your pan off the hob and add all of your chocolate chips. Stir continuously until all of the chocolate chips have melted.

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This bit is completely optional, Add about 50ml of milk & stir, before pouring into your mug of choice. I add the last bit of milk at the end because it cools the rather hot chocolate mixture a little bit, children aren’t really programmed to wait, especially not for melted chocolate in a mug. The quicker its cooled to drinking tempeture the better.

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Lastly (and this is completely optional) top with cream, marshmallows, any left over chocolate chips and serve!

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Enjoy.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

My Christmas wish list.

It is officially ONE MONTH until christmas! One whole month until the day of food, family and general merriness.

This  means I can finally get excited doesn’t it?! Well I am doing anyway.

As of now I can hum christmas songs to my hearts content, add to our decorations with a couple of lovely trinkets, start planning the Christmas day feast I will be feeding my family and most importantly send Sam the link to this post daily, just to make sure he doesn’t forget what I would like for christmas.

I’m obviously not expecting them all… I’m more of a giver when it comes to christmas. But at least now he has something to reference to when buying for me (Yes Mr. S, I am talking about the fiasco of 2010 when you bought me a shake weight, there’ll be NONE of that this year.)

 

wishlist

  1. Harry Potter book box set (Paperback) – £29.99 : The book people. 
  2. Miss dior cherie perfume £44.55 : Debenhams. 
  3. Nike blazers- £37.99 : Amazon. 
  4. Floral cushions. £19.99 each : Zara home. 
  5. Extra tough wine glasses (Set of four) £24 : Selfridges.
  6. Heringbone throw £19.99 : Zara home.
  7. Lace up flats – £29.99 : Zara. 
  8.  Loveable, livable, home – Young house Love. – £15.90 : Amazon. 
  9.  Jumpsuit – £50 : Asos. 

Let the gift buying commence!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.